Sorry I haven’t written anything for a while folks, but these days it seems like there’s more on my to-do-list then there is time to do them. In fact, my daily travels are what inspired me to sit down and write this letter today.
It seems like everywhere I go these days, I get asked the same questions about self defense weapons. Are they legal? Should I carry one? Do they really work? (And assuming they really do work for self defense)… How do I know which one is really going to work for me?
The truth is, there really is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It’s a personal question, which has a personal answer for each individual. So I’m going to do what I can to help clear some of the fog on this topic, and we’ll start with a simple definition for the term “self defense weapon”.
Self-defense: The act of defending one’s person or interests from harm by the use of physical force or argument.
Weapon: Any instrument or device used to inflict harm on another, either for attack or defense.
So for the purpose of this article, we’ll consider a self defense weapon to be any instrument or device used to defend yourself from physical harm or attack… Simple enough.
Personal defense weapons come in many shapes and sizes. In fact, just about anything you use to defend yourself could be considered a self defense weapon. So rather than creating a list of self defense weapons (which is practically endless), I’ll just go over some of the concepts that are common for all of these devices.
First let’s talk about what a self defense weapon is NOT…
A self defense weapon is NOT an animate object with a mind of its own. In other words, it doesn’t think for itself, and it doesn’t sit there coiled up, waiting for the opportunity to strike at someone. A self defense weapon is a tool, no more. And being a tool, what it does depends entirely on what you do with it. A weapon can be very useful for keeping you safe. However, you’ve got to remember a few certain things…
1. A SELF DEFENSE WEAPON IS NOT MAGIC.
Once you have a weapon, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically safe. So, don’t go walking into a bad section of town, in the middle of the night, carrying a big handful of money. And don’t flip off the local gang leader just because you have a weapon in your pocket
2. YOU NEED TO LEARN HOW TO USE YOUR SELF DEFENSE WEAPON.
And even more important, you need to have confidence in your ability to use it. Just having a weapon doesn’t mean it’ll be any help at all. This is actually a big problem among the uninformed; Military and law enforcement research confirms that people who lack confidence in a technique or device will not resort to it in a stressful situation.
Many people have been seriously hurt in violent encounters with a personal self defense weapon right in their hand. In the stress of the moment, they didn’t think to use it or doubted its’ ability to impact the situation. Perhaps they were afraid that it would only make matters worse.
So if you’re thinking of carrying a personal self defense weapon, make sure you’re prepared to learn how to use it. And practice to become skillful with it. You also need to be prepared to use the device aggressively on a predator, to protect yourself. Never carry a Personal Safety Weapon with the intent to “bluff” your assailant. This is one sure way to have your weapon taken away and used against you. So if you are not prepared to use it decisively, don’t carry it!
3. WEAPONS DON’T WORK IF YOU AREN’T HOLDING THEM.
You’ve got to keep your eyes open and pay attention, and you need to know how to carry and use your weapon of choice, cause if you don’t, you may not get a chance to use it. A gun doesn’t help if it’s still in its holster, and a pepper spray or a stun gun isn’t too useful if it’s still in the bottom of your purse or in the kitchen drawer at home when you get attacked. So when you carry a weapon for self defense, make sure you can get to it quickly if the need arises.
People seldom leave their homes thinking, “Gee, I think I’ll go out and fend off a mugger, or a rapist today!” What happens to most self defense weapons is the novelty wears off and they’re quickly forgotten, then they find their way to the bottom of a purse, the glove box of your car, or the back of a kitchen drawer. They won’t do you much good there! So ask yourself, is the device you are considering something practical enough to carry with you all of the time.
4. NOTHING WORKS 100% OF THE TIME.
Over-inflated claims and quick-fix promises are everywhere in the self-defense business. Many gadget salespeople and wannabe self-defense experts exaggerate the benefits and capabilities of their systems and products.
You need to understand, and acknowledge the limitations of a self defense weapon, and have a back-up plan. Keep in mind that nothing is ever 100% effective all the time. Even a gun is only 99% effective. Sometimes people get shot, but they still don’t go down. Yet, I don’t know anyone who would say a gun isn’t effective.
So knowing that nothing works 100% of the time means no matter what self defense weapon you decide to carry, you should still have a back up plan for defending yourself… just in case
5. THERE ARE LAWS ABOUT WEAPONS…
Lots of laws. Starting primarily with laws about guns, the use of guns, carrying a gun, etc. but there are also laws about stun guns, pepper spray, knives, batons, etc. Mostly having to do with when weapons may be used, and under what circumstances.
Do what you can to learn the laws about weapons in your area, but more importantly, use a bit of common sense. Pulling a gun on a guy because he cut you off in traffic is a no-no, and shooting someone in the face with pepper spray because they took the last donut at the meeting is not using good judgment. So when learning to use your self defense weapon, also learn the laws regarding the weapon, and when you can and can’t use it legally.
So there you have it, a few basic truths about self defense weapons.
I could go on for another half hour about personal defense weapons, and never run out of things to say, but this article has already passed the one thousand-word mark, so I’ll end it here. The bottom line is, if you’re going to carry a weapon for self defense, make sure you know how to use it, and are prepared to use if the need arises.
Until next time, Stay safe and stay alive.